Generally speaking, if you're reading this, it probably is the right time. Besides, being proactive and talking with someone before the crisis, is a wise decision.
Here are a few questions to consider about your loved one, yourself and others to determine if now is the time to consider a move into assisted living. (Keep in mind, wait lists for residences may apply.)
Questions about yourself (the caregiver):
1. Am I continually exhausted?
2. Is my health becoming a factor in being able to care for my loved one?
3. Am I becoming angry or resentful toward my loved one or others?
4. Am I short tempered with my loved one or other family members?
5. Are you so burned out that doing something for yourself feels like one more thing to do?
6. Is the situation affecting your life with other family members? Such as: spouse, children, grandchildren
7. Have you had to stop activities that you truly enjoy to care for your loved one? Such as: volunteering, church work, employment, etc.
Questions about your loved one:
1. Are short term memory issues leading to medication errors, missed meals, poor nutrition or
poor safety choices in their home?
2. Are they lonely or in need of more stimulation, socialization or exercise?
3. Do days and nights get turned around?
4. Are they wandering?
5. Do they need more physical assistance than family members can give with bathing, dressing, walking, etc.?
6. Are they calling you at all hours of the day and night?
7. Is walking/balance becoming an issue and are falling more?
8. Are they showing signs of depression due to withdrawal from others?
9. Is it becoming more difficult for Mom to take care of Dad.
10. Is driving an issue? They may be able to go through the motions of driving but are they able to react quickly or make good judgement calls?
My mother-in-law had Alzheimer's for many years. My sister in law (Mary) wanted Mom to live with them. They provided a wonderful home for her in a big beautiful farm home. Mom thrived and was well cared for. Even though both my sister and brother-in-law eventually retired, life with Mom was busy, taking care of her emotional, mental and physical needs. The lesson I learned from Mary was two-fold: know your breaking point and be on a wait list (just in case). What I mean by this is, her and her husband felt they could tolerate pretty much anything, except incontinence (understandably). This would be their breaking point.
Mom stayed with us at various times for short periods to give them a time of respite. We enjoyed her stays with us. Needless to say, one of those times Mom was with us, she had a small stroke. Mom was already at the point where days and nights were turned around and no memory. The small stroke caused her to be unsteady every time she took a step. She could no longer walk alone, but was unable to remember. Mary was calm as I explained the situation because she was prepared. Mom went home and within two days was moved into an assisted living that provided the care she needed.
Even though Mary's "breaking point" never came to fruition, discussing it ahead of time help them be prepared emotionally and mentally. She lived another couple of years in the assisted living home and received great care!